Starting out under the name 80 Microcomputing, the magazine was renamed to 80 Micro on its 30th issue. Founded by Byte magazine founder Wayne Green, it was later sold to CW Communications. Green attributed the magazine's success to Radio Shack's policy of not allowing other companies to distribute their products through their stores, while other stores would not carry the products as Radio Shack customers did not frequent them. Thus 80 Micro became the most accessible venue for small companies to advertise in. Tandy also prohibited the Radio Shack stores it owned from selling or displaying 80 Micro to not lose sales to the magazine's advertisers, and Green—who claimed that most stores kept a copy hidden from "company spies"—asked readers to persuade franchise and other non Tandy-owned stores to sell the magazine.
In 1982, 80 Micro was the third largest magazine in terms of obtaining advertising, selling 152,000 issues. Programming contests for young children were featured annually, and were endorsed by both the Scholastic Corporation and the Boy Scouts of America.
One of the fascinating features of the magazine at some point was the challenge to write complete games, sometimes including scoring, on just one line of BASIC code. Creativity was remarkable and included techniques to allow for a slightly longer line of code than originally envisioned.